Namibia Sport Commissioner and former rugby captain Piet du Plooy passed away on Saturday following a heart attack.
According to a message on his Facebook page, he suffered a massive heart attack on Thursday, and an operation to insert a stent (a small mesh tube to open up the arteries) was unsuccessful.
He was admitted to the theatre of the Catholic Hospital where he received shock treatment while he was also given a temporary pacemaker. He remained in ICU before he passed away on Saturday.
The 49-year-old Du Plooy was the managing director of Trip Travel while he was closely involved with Namibian sport since independence.
He represented Namibia’s national rugby team at lock in five official test matches between 1992 and 1994 and also captained the side.
He also played for and captained the University of Stellenbosch during his student days.
Following a successful playing career he continued to be involved in sport and in particular in rugby. He served as a Namibia Sport Commissioner for many years, while he was also the chairman of judges at the recent Namibian Sports Commission Awards.
A few years ago he survived cancer through bone-marrow transplants and started living a completely healthy life again, spending most of his time with Trip Travel activities.
The Namibia Rugby Union on Sunday paid tribute to Du Plooy in a statement issued to the media.
“We are very sad to hear about Piet’s passing and our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife IIsje and son AJ,” said Wessel Kotzé, the team manager of the national team, which is currently in France as part of its November international tour.
“Just a week ago we invited Piet to do a motivational talk to the team before the test match against Germany and he was very honoured to do so. His words to us were truly inspirational and left everyone with a very important message about playing rugby for Namibia and life in general and that’s how we will remember him,” Kotzè said.
NRU president Bradley Basson said that the death of Piet du Plooy was a great loss to his family as well Namibian sport and rugby in particular.
“Piet always had the best interests of Namibian rugby at heart and we will remember him as an outstanding individual who made a huge contribution to Namibian rugby on and off the field,” said Basson.
Basson confirmed that the Namibian team will wear black armbands in their match against the French Barbarians in Toulon on Friday out of respect for Piet du Plooy and his family.
He is survived by his wife IIsje and son AJ du Plooy.